KLIAVS: Highlights of the show
Many audiophiles have already compiled their lists of systems they liked and stuff that they were disappointed with in the discussion thread of hifi4sale.net.
Here is my list of memorable moments (in random order):
I was also surprised when James told me the power amp was Class D as they were quite big. Apparently, the TAD designers used some new power supply technology which I will have to check out in their website. But the sound was impressive.
Audio Note/FM Acoustics/Avantgarde (Audio Note Malaysia and Absolute Hi-Fi)
Jo Ki's LS3/5A room
His system comprised his newly-bought FM Acoustics preamp, Quad II monoblocks and 47 Labs CD player. You may have noticed that he placed the LS3/5As on heavy, dead-sounding stands which were on thick slabs of granite and the AB1s were placed on marble slabs sandwiched with foam.
Those observant enough would have seen the cute little crystal objects on the speakers. If you ask Jo Ki privately, he would explain and even demonstrate how they work to expand the sound stage and extend the treble.
These are some of the secret methods that he used to coax the little BBC monitors to sing beautifully.
BAT/Epos (Acoustic Arts)
I was told many good things about this room, but when I went there on Saturday evening, the tube amps were switched off. The next day, I was told that the BAT Rex pre and VK150SE power amps had been sold and carted away. Creek amplifiers were used instead to drive the Epos flagship speakers Encore 50.
Even with the Creek amps, the speakers sounded good and the chief weakness of Epos speakers - their light bass - appeared to have been take care of. At around RM16,000 a pair, they are cheap considering they are flagship speakers.
EgglestonWorks/Parasound/Pathos (Centre Circle)
When I heard the EgglestonWorks Andra III in Centre Circle's showroom in TTDI, they sounded too 'rock' for my liking.
With the Parasound JC1 and JC2 pre/power monoblocks, they sounded smooth, dynamic, tonally balanced and easy to listen to. There was a lot of room treatment foam around, so that must have helped. The Parasound amps were quite impressive and affordable.
Nagra/Verity (Audio Synthesis)
Many people have praised the sound in this room and I can see (hear?) why. The Nagra VPA monoblocks look imposing like some kind of futuristic towers and the Verity Audio Amadis speakers look elegant.
In terms of sound, they created a warmish but clear and pleasant sonic signature. It was an easy-to-like kind of sound and that's why so many people liked it.
Simaudio/German Physiks (AVP Soundcraft)
Last year, a pair of German Physiks speakers made of carbon fibre was demoed. This year, a pair of HRS120 with wood veneer was on demo driven by Simaudio Moon Series components - CD5.3, P5.3 pre and W5.3 power amps.
Several audiophiles were totally impressed by the sheer dynamics and excitement of these omni-directional speakers when percussion-based music was played.
I stood at a corner of the room just to find out if I could hear some form of soundstage - and I did. I felt the vocals did not sound as lean as they did with the carbon fibre model last year.
Vitus/Marten/EAT turntable (Audio Matic)
One of the few amps that can take on the mighty FM Acoustics, the Vitus, was on demo in this room which was well tuned.
I was surprised by the size of the Vitus phono stage - it is as big as the preamp - but it showed its mettle when the Euro Audio Team Forte S turntable with Audio Technica cartridge was played.
The slight richness of the Vitus complemented the slight leanness of the Marten Getz speakers and the resulting sound was quite enjoyable.
I had heard the previous generation of the Revels before driven by Theta Citadel monoblock amps and a BAT preamp and the system sounded wonderful.
The slight warmth of the Mark Levinson tempered the highly-revealing nature of the Revels. The sound was quite good and should be better in a proper listening room.
But the new Revels look absolutely boring compared with the previous generation.
KEF/Pass Labs/Audio Research (Perfect Hi-Fi)
In this huge room, there were two high-end systems on demo.
On the left side were the KEF 207.2 Reference speakers driven by Pass Labs X600S monoblock power amps, Pass Labs XP20 pre and the Audio Research Reference CD8.
On the other end of the room facing the entrance were the Wilson Sashas driven by Goldmund Telos 250 monoblock amps, Audio Research Anniversary Reference pre and the dCS Puccini CD player with the dCS clock. A Reimyo voltage stabiliser was used in this system and the cabling for both systems was from Transparent audio.